In preparation for two talks about The Iceberg I recently gave, I prepared the following slides. With the supplemental slides, I would like to explain the larger role that I believe The Iceberg and coworking has within this community.
Keep in mind, this is just a brief overview, for the sake of a blog post. I will soon follow-up on closer looks into many of the following items.
There is an Iceberg in NWA? The Iceberg is a coworking facility, located here, in Fayetteville, AR, that celebrates all of the hard work, growth, learning, and persistence it takes to reach success. It offers an open floor plan with many general office amenities. Furthermore, The Iceberg is an initiative of the Northwest Arkansas Entrepreneurship Alliance.
How is it sustainable? At first you might not see the sustainable traits of The Iceberg. I want to explain its sustainable traits, environmentally, economically, socially, and culturally, and how they factor into The Iceberg’s larger role.
Environmentally – When we found the space, it hadn’t been used for years. There were no walls built out, there was no electricity nor was there any HVAC. It appeared similar to a dungeon without the flaming sticks on the walls. This was a place in downtown Fayetteville, in the same building as many residential and commercial properties, but had never been taken advantage of. We elected to reuse the space and turn what started as a “dungeon” into a world-class coworking facility.
Similar to reusing the space, many items were reused from other parts of the exisiting building that were scheduled to be rid of. We chose to implement as many items as possible into the floorplan of The Iceberg.
The Iceberg is built around “community.” Almost every single thing within the space is shared. From printers, projectors and computers, to desks, books and the space as a whole. By sharing, freelancers, startups and small businesses don’t have to worry about the overhead of purchasing the things on their own, as well as cuts down on material and energy usage.
Economically – Many see The Iceberg as simply a great place to work. Others see it as an opportunity to leverage the community’s collective expertise, experience, resources, perspective and support in order to help build their businesses.
This is also a place where jobs are created. Moments of serendipity happen at any point in a day at The Iceberg. What starts as asking a member with a background in accounting turns out to be a job for the accountant and a resource for the member needing help. An entrepreneur who needs a website created can quickly reach out to a web designer member and quickly turn an idea into a paying job for another member. A local economy within The Iceberg emerges.
Socially – A place to meet like minded people. – Whether you are an entrepreneur, a programmer, a sustainability professional, a designer, or consultant, you will find like minded people when you come to The Iceberg. Through various meetups, events and other social functions, The Iceberg is quickly becoming a place where a diverse set of organizations, groups and individuals come to get together and build and engage with their communities.
When entrepreneurs or freelancers come to Northwest Arkansas, The Iceberg has a great chance of being that place known for being the hangout for these types of people. Whether it is working to meet a deadline or watching a Razorback game, creating a place that is like home for entrepreneurs and independent professionals is key to the community building that The Iceberg is working to achieve.
Culturally – The Iceberg is a place where anyone with any background can work alongside each other. A place where an accountant can work next to a skateboard manufacturer founder. A place where this dynamic helps create the diverse set of resources The Iceberg is able to provide. By celebrating the fact that anyone and everyone can work alongside each other, we are able to increase the possibilities so serendipitous moments, increase the access to perspective, resources, and expertise, as well as offer a higher level of support from the community.
Most importantly, The Iceberg is a place built on the ideal of “support.” Each member, sponsor, partner and donor takes part in this ideal in some way. Whether it is providing a resource, offering your advice, celebrating a fellow member’s success, or simply a motivational pep talk, support is key and evident in every aspect of The Iceberg.
How does all of this add up? Up to this point, I have discussed what would be ideal, supported by cases in which The Iceberg hits on those ideals. More important than the ideals are the results. Below, I want to shed light on some of the preliminary findings from The Iceberg’s first 2 months of operation.
Members – Today, we have 35 members with a diverse set of backgrounds including, design, programming, consulting, photography, retail, accounting, education and much more.
Member Companies – From those 35 members, there are at least 15 unique companies. The companies are in various stages of growth and are in a multiple industries. These companies range from being venture backed, profitable, to being idea or seed stage companies.
Annual Member Company Revenue – While this number is low (I was only able to poll 5 members), a perspective begins to be created. From just 5 of the 35 members of The Iceberg, over $3.5 million is generated in annual revenue. This becomes an important economic development statistic as we grow the facility and stress its importance to the region.
Sponsors, Partners and Donors – We have been fortunate to have a great group of partners, sponsors and donors. Each bring not only their support but an involvement in the community that is unprecedented. Each of these groups have pledged not only their financial support but their willingness to be involved and provided their expertise to members in order to help each become successful. These groups and individuals have a diverse set of backgrounds as well, including venture capital, accounting, legal, retail, accelerators, and more. Each of these, continue to further strengthen The Iceberg’s arsenal of resources, experience, expertise and support.
These amazing partners, sponsors and donors have contributed over $70k financially in order to help us with rent and utility costs, resource and event costs, and much more.
The Iceberg’s Member City Reach – One of the most surprising discoveries is the reach that the Iceberg has had from a membership standpoint. In just 2 months time, we have gained memberships from more than 8 cities. Not only is The Iceberg serving as an economic and community catalyst for Fayetteville, but has reached people all throughout Northwest Arkansas, the River Valley and Central Arkansas. As The Iceberg continues to grow, and offer more resources and opportunities, we hope to broaden a reach for community and support on the State and Region that is unprecedented.
One Place. – This coworking space represents so much more than just a place to rent a desk and to work. It represents a place to grow, support, hangout, learn and meet. It represents a community.
This data only represents a fraction of what we have been able to achieve in just the first two months of this initiative. Over the course of the next few weeks, I will be gaining more data on our members and their companies as well as the events that have been held and more. This will allow us to better frame the importance of The Iceberg in Northwest Arkansas and ultimately the State of Arkansas.
If you are interested in becoming a member, sign up today! The Iceberg could not be possible today without its sponsors, partners, and donors. This is a facility that must be supported by the community in order to keep the momentum it needs to accomplish all it can for this region and to remain a catalyst for business, creative, and community development. If interested in helping to support The Iceberg, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Final Thought: I believe that The Iceberg has the chance to be a catalyst for a new era of community in Northwest Arkansas. I believe that it can begin to attract like minded individuals, groups and organizations from all over the Region, State and Midwest and allow for them to have a presence in one place. I believe that the opportunities that The Iceberg gives entrepreneurs, creatives, freelancers and others is unprecedented. The ability for one to go to a centrally located facility in order to receive fresh, perspective, experience, insight, resources, support and more is critical as we further put in place initiatives to help small businesses be successful.
This is about something much larger than myself, much larger than NWAEA, and much larger than The Iceberg. This is about a community catalyst that not only brings people together, but helps them become successful, and supports them wholeheartedly and authentically.